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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 1:46 am 

Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2009 12:50 pm
Posts: 11064


With thanks to A. Miller for original transcript


Eddie Mair: [to camera] In May 2007, a trip to the sun turned an anonymous British family into people who were nationally and internationally known. Kate and Gerry McCann's eldest daughter Madeleine went missing in Portugal.

[voice over archive footage] Initial media support turned into suspicion. The McCanns privacy was treated with contempt by sections of the press who stopped at nothing to write something, anything, about the couple.

When they attended the Leveson Inquiry, the McCanns were clear on why they had decided to take part.
[Clips from Leveson Inquiry]

Gerry McCann: A system has to be put in place to protect ordinary people from the damage that the media can cause.

Kate McCann: When it's your voice against a powerful media, you know, it... it just doesn't hold weight and you know we are desperately shouting out internally – 'please stop what you are doing' You know we are trying to find our daughter, and you are stopping our chances of finding her.
Among the worst offenders were the Express Group, the McCanns were shown some of their stories.
Gerry McCann: That is nothing short of disgusting.

Kate McCann: I think this same journalist, if memory serves right, also said we stored her body in a freezer.
The News of the World also got hold of a copy of Kate McCanns private diary, and published it without telling her.
Kate McCann: It was my only way of communicating with Madeleine and for me, you know, there was absolutely no respect shown for me as a grieving mother or as a human being.
By taking part in Leveson the McCanns hoped that their testimony would bring about a change a change in the Law, a new press regulator with legal backing.


Eddie Mair: Kate and Gerry McCann, you heard John Witherow, errr... just now, editor of the Times, former editor of the Sunday Times, saying that from all his private discussions it seems like, errr... the political parties are coalescing around this Royal Charter idea. If that's what we end up with, was going to Leveson a waste of your time?

Gerry McCann: I think it certainly won't be what we were hoping to achieve and very much disagree with John that, errr... that this is... what Leveson is tough. I think Leveson has actually been quite generous to the press, and, errm... more than their behaviour, or certain sections of the media deserve really. Errm... They're getting a last chance at self-regulation, errr... which for me was actually a step too far.

Eddie Mair: Could you explain from your point of view what's the practical difference between what Leveson wanted and what is now, what seems to be the compromise, what difference does that make?

Gerry McCann: I've got three concerns at the minute, the first is the transparency. The inquiry was open you could see what was going on. Leveson's reviewed all the evidence, errr... and what's happened in the last two and a half month's is exactly what you've talked about, where we're having a number of private meetings; the minutes are not published; the discussions are not published, and then that leads to serious concerns about independence of what is being proposed, because a major part of Leveson was acknowledging that the press had got too close to politicians.

And the third concern for us, in what is being proposed, is that we're going to end up with, errr... sub-Leveson recommendations really, errm... particularly around independence, errr... both of the... the Board who are going to oversee it, and the fact that there should be complete independence of the appointments of that Board.

Eddie Mair: I am struck by something, errr... you are quoted as saying, errr... Gerry –

"The Leveson package, including legal underpinning is the mimimum acceptable compromise for us."

I just wonder, if it was up to you, if they gave you the power to draft something; the future of the press, what would you do?

Gerry McCann: To be honest, I've already said this to you that, errr... I feel that the... the press has lost its entitlement to self-regulation over many, many years and I would have liked to have seen actually statutory regulation and not self-regulation.

Eddie Mair: But I get the impression if it was up to you, you would go much further…

Gerry McCann: Oh, asolutely...

Eddie Mair: People might not blame you, what would you do?

Gerry McCann: Well no, I would make it very much that they weren't... that it wasn't self-regulated, it would be independent regulation.

Kate McCann: I think when we saw, errr... the Leveson recommendations we probably thought for us it was probably a 7 out of 10. And obviously it's been a pain staking process and I think Lord Leveson has come up with something that’s very balanced and he's trying to be as fair as possible to every party involved. But actually I think what the Government are proposing with this Charter, which I have to say, a Charter body is overseen by Ministers for a start, which again takes away the independence. Errm... It's basically a compromise of a compromise...

Gerry McCann: Yeah.

Kate McCann: And why... why do the press, why do the Government what... not want to be accountable like everybody else? I mean the press are the first to hold people in authority to account.

Eddie Mair: Have you noticed any improvement in the press since Leveson?

Gerry McCann: It's very difficult to say that because you only know, errr... about your own individual circumstances..

Eddie Mair: But even there. I mean, have things been better?

Gerry McCann: Obviously the situation for us, we still have, errr... episodes where things are published which we would much prefer weren't published, errm... there's been a recent headline; front page of a Sunday newspaper, about a potential lead in Madeleine's case and it hadn't been fully explored, and it's something that we raised at Leveson, that Madeleine and her safety is often treated with complete contempt. And we have no re-dress currently, and I would have concerns that if the editors get what they want, which is how complaints are dealt with, it would only be certain complaints and they could decide which ones would come. And one of the things we are very, very concerned with... and is about accuracy and standards and consideration for the public. We want the regulator to be able to protect the interests of the public.

Eddie Mair: And the recent story about Madeleine that you were unhappy with did you... did you try and speak to the... to the paper concerned.

Kate McCann: Yeah, I... I wrote to the editor of the newspaper and explained my concerns and I have to say I got a reply back which made my blood boil. It was basically telling me that he... they knew what was best for Madeleine; that they knew best what was for missing children. So despite what we as parents thought, despite what the Metropolitan police thought, they knew what was best, and that is really concerning, post-Leveson Inquiry, that this is the kind of response we're getting. I believe if the Royal Charter goes through we'll be no better off and this is one opportunity now which might not come again, and I think the general public deserve to know what's happening, because as Gerry said, there's been a total lack of transparency, and what the Government is proposing is not what Leveson has proposed.

Eddie Mair: Do you have much hope that the change you want will come in?

Gerry McCann: I... I've not given up hope. I think the first thing is to... I think the vast majority of MP's actually are fully supportive of Leveson, and I've mentioned this before, but if, errr... our Parliamentarians want to redeem themselves in the public light, they know that the right thing is to implement Leveson in full. Not a compromise, not a sop to the editors.

Eddie Mair: Kate and Gerry McCann, thank you both.[/quote]


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